Re: (Fwd) Re: [Core construing and Cushman's concept of the empty

Erv Kehler (
Thu, 23 Oct 1997 18:32:55 -0700

thanks for clearing up the confusion. However, if life was all black/white, wouldn't
it be boring? Thanks again.

Dear Luis,
thanks a lot for your reply. It never ceases to amaze me that people all over the
world can have input into one's research. I am thoroughly enjoying the 'list
Allow me to elaborate a little on our research. I am currently working as part of
a research team on this project of personal world view assessment. The supervisor of
the project, Dr. Marvin McDonald, has been largely influenced by PCT in his personal
development. This is the angle which he proposes to research the development of
personal worldview. Specifically he encouraged me to look at the technique of
laddering as a viable and profitable approach to reconstruing a client's/person's
worldview. For myself, I have been quite strongly influenced by many of the
postmodern writers, including Philip Cushman, author of 'Why the self is empty'.
Cushman writes as a historian, establishing theoretical evidence for his historical
and (I assume) clinical experience of the 'empty self'. The basic question which now
interests me in relation to this research project is two-fold: 1) Is the technique of
laddering an efficient and viable tool for personal worldview assessment? (process
question) 2) If laddering proves to be a reliable and valid tool (which certainly has
been demonstrated in the past by the research), does our research confirm Cushman's
hypothesis that the (western) self is indeed empty? (content question).
At the present we are still involved with doing the basic research and writing up a
abstract for a submission at the Canadian Psychological Association conference next
year. As soon as that is done, I hope the team will be able to move on to doing some
pilot testing. Our goal is to have done pilot tests on 4-6 subjects by June and be
able to present research and results of the study at the conference. I should add
that a colleague of mine is also current pursuing the same goal from a narrative point
of view.
As I reread your email a number of questions come to mind. Have you published
anything this area in the past, or are you aware of any empirical studies of personal
worldview? What have been your major theoretical influences in doing this study? In
retrospect, is there anything you would do differently if you could start all over
Well, I think that is all I'll ask for now. I'm looking forward to furthering this
discussion and enhancing mutual understanding/growth.
Derrick Klaassen
Graduate Counselling Psychology@TWU

P.S. To all other list members; are you benefitting from this discussion or would you
prefer us to take it off the list?

> From:
> Date: Wed, 22 Oct 1997 07:37:06
> To:
> Subject: Re: [Core construing and Cushman's concept of the empty self]
> wrote:
> >> Dear fellow list members,
> >> my name is Derrick Klaassen and I have just joined the PCP discussion list.
> >> One of my main reasons for joining is to use this email tool as a sounding
> >> board for research and therapy ideas. I find it amazing that one can
> >> communicate with various persons all over the globe via such a list.
> >> Currently I am involved in a project which aims at exploring personal worldview
> >> (or core constructs) from both a narrative and constructivist angle.
> >> Practically this means that the research team will be using
> >> narrative/phenomonlogical means as well as Kelly's laddering technique as tools
> >> for exploring core constructs. In essence we are using Philip Cushman's (1990,
> >> 1995) work on the empty self as a springboard and hoping to provide some
> >> empirical support (or show the lack thereof) for his historical/theoretical
> >> construct. Any comments, suggestions and/or questions would be highly
> >> appreciated.
> >> Sincerely,
> >> Derrick Klaassen
> >>
> >> Trinity Western University
> >> Graduate Counselling Psychology
> >> Langley, BC, Canada
> >>
> >>
> Dear Derrick,
> We're conducting some research here at Ramon Llull with the same goal
> as I understand yours is, i.e., exploring personal worldview from both
> a narrative and constructivist angle. We're using intensive
> qualitative analysis of psychotherapy sessions by means of Grounded
> Theory Methodology, plus grid technique to test changes in self
> construcing over the course of therapy. I'd be interested in knowing
> more about your connection between Cushman's notion of the "empty
> self" and your project. In fact, we're workI know I'm being a bit
> obscure but, does it make sense to you? Is our approach somehow
> similar to what you're proposing?
> Good luck in your research.
> Luis Botella, Ph.D.
> Department of Psychology
> Ramon Llull University
> Cister, 24-34
> 08022-Barcelona
> Spain
> Phone: 34-3-253 30 00
> Fax: 34-3-253 30 31
> E-mail:
> ------------------------------------------------------------
> If your only tool is a hammer, you will treat everyone as a nail.
> Gordon Allport.
> ------------------------------------------------------------